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lthq
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Joined: September 23rd, 2006, 4:10 am

Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 4:27 am

I understand that the meaningfulness and rationality of getting a MFE are now questionable, but I've decided to apply to a few US schools first, then decide what to do next year if, lucky enough, I get accepted.I recently wrote the GRE general test in preparation for application, and got a reasonable quant score of 790, but a very crappy verbal score of 410. I have yet to receive my analytical score. In addition, I have a 3.9 GPA, and a few years of related work experience. I've seen conflicting comments about how important the verbal score is to the application decision. The bottom line is - should I retake the GRE test to secure a higher score? In light of the recent turmoil, would a lot of people laid off be applying to MFE, and hence pushing up the bar for admission?
 
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elio
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Joined: April 5th, 2006, 5:19 pm

Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 7:45 am

Don't waste your time on that.My understanding is that verbal score is quite irrelevant, especially for international applicants.Since you've got experience, you should be well-positioned.> would a lot of people laid off be applying to MFE, and hence pushing up the bar for admissionHardly
 
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KennyMing
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Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 8:51 am

" Don't waste your time on that."What do you mean? Don't waste time to study MFE in next year?(I think the laid off i-bankers may try MBA to diversify their career choice rather focusing on finance only.)
 
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DominicConnor
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Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 9:34 am

The reason you see conflicting comments about verbal scores is that MFE schools vary a lot.On some courses you have to pass an informal spoken test in English else you won't get in. Many regard the "verbal GRE" as wholly corrupt.But some are quite appalling in the way they allow people on their courses who cannot express themselves in English. Some MFEs have English so bad that not only can I not understand them, but that my ears don't recognnise it as being English at all.I get the same comprehension of them that I would from someone who is speaking in their native tongue. I spot the odd word.A really painful task is trying to work out their names. Surprisingly common conversations are of the form :Candidate : "Hi Dominic it's bang hiss crackle ack ack oooo"Me: "Could you spell that so I can bring up your details ?""Icky op op coo ark jojo can oik hor har jib nevermore"Normally I try to get them to say H for Hotel, C for Charlie etc.Some can't say Charlie or Hotel.Yes, really. Some of the new MFEs who ring me cannot tell me their name on the phone. They cannot pronounce the letters of their own name in a way I can turn into a word.Imagine how well they are going to express their competence in stochastic volatility at interview.This is after at least a year of education in a wholly English language based MFE, and after they claimed to have known the language in the first place.The early feedback I get is that admissions are holding up well.
 
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elio
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Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 10:43 am

I meant retaking GRE to improve verbal is a waste of time.
 
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quantyst
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Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 10:46 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: DominicConnorThe reason you see conflicting comments about verbal scores is that MFE schools vary a lot.On some courses you have to pass an informal spoken test in English else you won't get in. Many regard the "verbal GRE" as wholly corrupt.But some are quite appalling in the way they allow people on their courses who cannot express themselves in English. Some MFEs have English so bad that not only can I not understand them, but that my ears don't recognnise it as being English at all.I get the same comprehension of them that I would from someone who is speaking in their native tongue. I spot the odd word.A really painful task is trying to work out their names. Surprisingly common conversations are of the form :Candidate : "Hi Dominic it's bang hiss crackle ack ack oooo"Me: "Could you spell that so I can bring up your details ?""Icky op op coo ark jojo can oik hor har jib nevermore"Normally I try to get them to say H for Hotel, C for Charlie etc.Some can't say Charlie or Hotel.Yes, really. Some of the new MFEs who ring me cannot tell me their name on the phone. They cannot pronounce the letters of their own name in a way I can turn into a word.Imagine how well they are going to express their competence in stochastic volatility at interview.This is after at least a year of education in a wholly English language based MFE, and after they claimed to have known the language in the first place.The early feedback I get is that admissions are holding up well.Wilmott is already promoting the CQF. By what you're saying, maybe it's time for something like 'QUANTENGLISH', to be offered for those quants who fall in the category above so eloquently articulated by you!
 
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lthq
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Joined: September 23rd, 2006, 4:10 am

Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 1:11 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DominicConnorThe reason you see conflicting comments about verbal scores is that MFE schools vary a lot.On some courses you have to pass an informal spoken test in English else you won't get in. Many regard the "verbal GRE" as wholly corrupt.But some are quite appalling in the way they allow people on their courses who cannot express themselves in English. Some MFEs have English so bad that not only can I not understand them, but that my ears don't recognnise it as being English at all.I get the same comprehension of them that I would from someone who is speaking in their native tongue. I spot the odd word.A really painful task is trying to work out their names. Surprisingly common conversations are of the form :Candidate : "Hi Dominic it's bang hiss crackle ack ack oooo"Me: "Could you spell that so I can bring up your details ?""Icky op op coo ark jojo can oik hor har jib nevermore"Normally I try to get them to say H for Hotel, C for Charlie etc.Some can't say Charlie or Hotel.Yes, really. Some of the new MFEs who ring me cannot tell me their name on the phone. They cannot pronounce the letters of their own name in a way I can turn into a word.Imagine how well they are going to express their competence in stochastic volatility at interview.This is after at least a year of education in a wholly English language based MFE, and after they claimed to have known the language in the first place.The early feedback I get is that admissions are holding up well.I moved to North America at a young age and can almost speak with pure North American accent. I just suck at vocabs
 
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trackstar
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Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 1:20 pm

Not to address the entire question, but you can significantly improve your GRE score with self-study. A 100 point gain should be easy and I'd say that you could attain a score in high 500s to low 600s if you work at it.Given your Math score, I think it would be better to tackle something like this head on, so you will not have regrets "if only I had worked on my English" later.
 
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KennyMing
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Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 1:52 pm

But do you think it is also risky to take MFE in next year ? graduated at the end of 2010?The regulators may restrict more on derivatives market and the structural products like CDO may have no market in near future. Some of them even claim that the financial market will return from complicated to basic one. What do you thinK? (Dominic and elio) or they would focus on asset and risk management?
 
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elio
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Joined: April 5th, 2006, 5:19 pm

Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 2:01 pm

> Given your Math score, I think it would be better to tackle something like this head on, so you will not have regrets "if only I had worked on my English" later.I wouldn't be so sure given that 1) math in GRE is not actually math but arithmetics2) lthq has been in the states for a while, so he's not the case DCFC mentionedNice vocabulary could impress McKinsey people or something, but IMO hardly helpsin landing a quantitative job (otherwise why bother with MFE). And learning wordsfor GRE is damn useless long-term investment. 95% of them never make it into one'sactive vocabulary and tend to be forgotten in couple of months.
 
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twofish
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Joined: February 18th, 2005, 6:51 pm

Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 2:52 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: KennyMingBut do you think it is also risky to take MFE in next year ? graduated at the end of 2010?Yes it is risky to get an MFE. It's risky to do anything at all. The question is whether or not you are aware of the risks and can make intelligent decisions to manage them.QuoteThe regulators may restrict more on derivatives market and the structural products like CDO may have no market in near future.Maybe. But assuming that CDO's had some economic value in the first place then *something* will functionally take its place. If you restrict supply and there is demand for it, this will result on often highly paying jobs figuring out how satisfy the demand.QuoteSome of them even claim that the financial market will return from complicated to basic one. I very seriously doubt that. The world is getting more complex, and the financial system reflects that complexity. People might have the *illusion* of simplicity, but it is just an illusion. One problem with finance and banking is that it's like figure skating, in that it looks far, far simpler than it really is. If seems that there are a lot of people that think that the money and credit fairy magically makes things work, and if you shoot the bankers and businessmen that are getting in the way of things, then things will really work.QuoteWhat do you thinK? (Dominic and elio) or they would focus on asset and risk management?Personally, I think that risk management is going to be much more important and the buy side/sell side imbalance in salaries is going to be reduced. One thing that is going to change is that I think there was a bubble in front office complex derivative modelers, and as things rebalance, salary for front office/sell-side is going to decrease and salary for risk or buy side is going to increase.
 
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lthq
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Joined: September 23rd, 2006, 4:10 am

Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 3:27 pm

QuoteGiven your Math score, I think it would be better to tackle something like this head on, so you will not have regrets "if only I had worked on my English" later.Did you mean that since my math score is not perfect, I should improve my low verbal score to secure my application? What if I try to get a perfect quant score? That sounds much easier to me...
 
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trackstar
Posts: 27814
Joined: August 28th, 2008, 1:53 pm

Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 8th, 2008, 4:11 pm

No - 790 is quite good. But I'd be concerned that V. 410 would pose an obstacle in what is likely to be a very competitive year in admissions. Your written English is fine, based on this posting. So perhaps your difficulties center on the synonyms, antonyms, and reading comprehension, which can be quite challenging, even for native speakers, because of the length of the passages and the time constraints.I disagree that learning "vocab" is a waste of time, just because you will not use these words in daily speech. The point is that with appropriate study, you will start thinking in English differently and it may help your overall fluency.To Dominic's point - down the road, you need to be able to handle complex interview questions as well.Last point: I would not pay for an expensive prep course - just get a Barron's or Kaplan guide to the GRE and give yourself a few weeks. Making your own flashcards is good too.Good luck!
 
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AbhiJ
Posts: 748
Joined: August 5th, 2008, 11:29 am

Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 9th, 2008, 5:33 am

To make the 4000 words of GRE stay into your permanent memory you need to learn and use the words at the rate of 5-10 words a day.That is one year at the minimum.
 
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HyperGeometric
Posts: 314
Joined: March 27th, 2004, 4:13 am

Difficulty of entering a MFE program next year

October 9th, 2008, 8:21 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: lthqI understand that the meaningfulness and rationality of getting a MFE are now questionable, but I've decided to apply to a few US schools first, then decide what to do next year if, lucky enough, I get accepted.I recently wrote the GRE general test in preparation for application, and got a reasonable quant score of 790, but a very crappy verbal score of 410. I have yet to receive my analytical score. In addition, I have a 3.9 GPA, and a few years of related work experience. I've seen conflicting comments about how important the verbal score is to the application decision. The bottom line is - should I retake the GRE test to secure a higher score? In light of the recent turmoil, would a lot of people laid off be applying to MFE, and hence pushing up the bar for admission?I can guarantee you that verbal score in GRE doesn't matter. Call Berkeley or CMU and ask them what the lowest verbal score was for admitted applicants last year. So don't take GRE again. Sometimes admissions people prefer not admitting 'asian' applicants because of their english as it becomes harder for them to clear interviews and the candidates becomes a liability for the program. So if you can convince them your english is good enough to communicate, you should be fine. But you don't mention your undergrad major. If you have 3.9 in humanities ( i doubt that given your verbal score), then you wont be admitted anayway. But assuming you have basic math courses from a decent 2-tier (or above) school, there's no reason why they wouldn't wanna take your money.

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